Tuesday, August 28, 2001

Zoning information goes electronic

By Scott Wartman
Enquirer Contributor

        In the near future, a new permit tracking system for the Northern Kentucky Area Planning Commission will make applying for zoning permits easier, complaining about violations simpler and finding out about the latest subdivision proposals faster.

        A software system is being tested to replace the manual process of tracking zoning information, making it entirely electronic. Now, all zoning information is stored on paper.

        The program is scheduled to be operational for government use by Sept. 10, said Russell Cloyd, the building and zoning services manager. If it works well, he said, the program will be available to the public on the NKAPC Web site — www.nkapc.cog.ky.us — sometime in October.

        Here's an example of how the new system would work:

        If someone files a complaint against a neighbor installing a driveway where zoning laws prohibit it, the permit tracking system will flag the complaint.

        Then, 30 days after the complaint is filed, a notice will appear in the computer reminding NKAPC to send someone out to check if the person has complied with zoning laws or has applied for a permit.

        A computerized system is needed to track the already high volume of zoning complaints, Mr. Cloyd said.

        “Zoning issues aren't tracked very effectively with the manual process,” Mr. Cloyd said. “We had a system that was somewhat anti quated, and the need to make sure permits keep moving in a timely fashion inspired us to look for something different.”

        Homeowners will be able to use the site to make sure there are no zoning violations in their neighborhood, said Todd Wallace, a system analyst working on the permit tracking system.

        “If a neighbor gets curious on what another neighbor is doing, they will be able to check the Web site,” Mr. Wallace said.

        Communities will also benefit. Afton Kordenbrock, chairman of the NKAPC, said the system will alleviate misunderstandings in a community because it will allow zoning information to be brought up at the touch of a button.

        “A lot of people can utilize it,” Mr. Kordenbrock said. “It is an added tool, and anyone can have access to it.”

        The Web site, which will have a search engine, will integrate with the Geographic Information System to produce maps of any of the 22 districts the NKAPC tracks.


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